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50 Years To The Day - Manchester Utd 's Terrible Tragedy!


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I just couldn't let today pass without paying tribute to the terrible disaster that befell my football team 50 years ago today when 8 of its promising young players were tragically killed in an aeroplane accident in Munich,Germany.Today,Manchester remembers!!

Munich remembered

Thousands gathered at Old Trafford on Wednesday to pay tribute to the 23 victims of the Munich air disaster.

There was a minute's silence at 1504 GMT, timed to coincide with the moment of the crash 50 years ago.

Eight Manchester United players were killed and Sir Bobby Charlton was one of the survivors present.

There was a simultaneous service at the crash site and another minute's silence will be held at Wembley before England's friendly against Switzerland.

A thousand people were inside Old Trafford's Manchester Suite for the memorial service, with many more outside on Sir Matt Busby Way where a clock commemorates the events of 6 February, 1958.

The ceremony was led by United's club chaplain the Reverend John Boyers and will include speeches by Charlton and Harry Gregg as well as a message from Prince Charles.

"It wasn't just Manchester United, it was the city of Manchester and the world of football that was affected" Man Utd chief exec David Gill.

As well as the service in Manchester, at which Charlton and Gregg were joined by fellow survivors Albert Scanlon, Bill Foulkes and Kenny Morgans, there was another ceremony in Munich.

At 1330 GMT, an English-speaking Catholic priest conducted a religious ceremony at the crash site in Trudering.

The names of the dead were read out, along with the lyrics to The Flowers of Manchester, a song penned after the disaster as a tribute to the dead.

On a day of commemoration at Old Trafford, the centrepiece was the unveiling at 1645 GMT of a free, permanent exhibition of the Busby Babes in the South Stand tunnel, now renamed the Munich Tunnel.

The exhibition was unveiled by Roger Bryne Jnr, who's father, Roger Byrne, died in the crash, and Manchester United chief executive David Gill.

England and United defender Rio Ferdinand says he hopes supporters at Wembley will remain silent in tribute to the people who died.

"I'm sure the fans will respect it - it's a poignant moment and we've got fantastic fans in this country," said Ferdinand.

"It's not just about Manchester United, it's about English football too."

Speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live on Wednesday, Gill said: "That day 50 years ago is still very clear in the minds of the family and friends of those who died.

"A lot of people who were involved at the time and people from the world of football together with ordinary fans will be attending at Old Trafford this afternoon."

On Sunday, there will be another minute's silence prior to United's home Premier League game against Manchester City.

Former City goalkeeper Frank Swift - then working as a journalist - also died in the crash and Gill says he is confident the City fans will fall silent in tribute.

"We've been working closely with City and discussed it with them. Frank Swift was one of their greatest goalkeepers and we've talked to them about the plans for the day," said Gill.

"We're working to ensure they remember that it wasn't just Manchester United, it was the city of Manchester that was affected and it was the world of football that was affected.

"We hope and believe that the minute's silence will be observed appropriately."

United players will wear a 1950s-style kit, free from sponsorship and numbered one to 11, while City will also wear a special strip.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/sport1/hi/football/7228670.stm

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What a magnificently observed minute's silence at Old Trafford. Despite all the doom beforehand, I never expected anything less.

Indeed,the fans behaved with dignity and respect and proved the sceptics and naysayers wrong, thank goodness!

Pity that the result was hardly the kind of tribute that the team and the fans were looking for.I hope the spirits of Duncan Edwards,Tommy Taylor and co did not look down on us with too much disappointment!!

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